Being a regular user of LinkedIn, I'm disappointed when I see marketers that are not utilizing LinkedIn effectively to share their brand (either business or personal). If you take the simple and effective actions that I discuss below, you'll be taking great steps to increase your marketing visibility and success that your competition is not taking...yet.
I recently attended one of MarketingProfs Take 10 webinars called "How to Build Your Reputation at LinkedIn (in a Few Minutes a Week)" which was hosted by Jason Alba. Most people have a profile on LinkedIn but most people don't know what to do once they get set up either because they're overwhelmed with all the options or simply don't have the time. Here's 10 actions he suggested to take that can help you build your reputation that are effective and time efficient.
4 One-Time Actions You Should Take
- Enhance your profile. This is one action that is going to take more time than most of the others, perhaps a few hours. I'd recommend making sure that your employment and educational history is fleshed out as much as possible. Pay particular attention to your ACCOMPLISHMENTS and less on your duties. How have you or your company helped other people/companies? What results did you achieve? Got testimonials? Ask for recommendations from trusted colleagues or customers.
- Modify your settings. Make sure you have included multiple email addresses. Why? Should you switch companies, you want to be able to maintain control over your LinkedIn profile. So have at least your business email and one of your personal email addresses. Also modify your Email Notification settings as you see fit.
- Pick a few applications. Applications are a great way for you to distinguish your brand/profile and share additional content with people viewing your profile. Applications are added to your homepage and profile. The host pointed out the BlogLink which allows your blog posts to be automatically posted to your LinkedIn profile. Promote your blog and develop your brand! I really like the SlideShare Presentations app. If your company creates pdf or power points presentations that you want to share, this is a great way to do that within LinkedIn.
- Join Groups. This is powerful. Joining groups allows you to communicate with people in the group that may not be part of your LinkedIn network. This can be prospects or people you're trying to recruit. Think of Groups as targeted audiences. If you or your brand appeals to a particular demographic, find groups that are made up of that demographic. You can join up to 50 groups and there are all kinds of groups from Professional Groups to Alumni Groups. Check out the Groups Directory and use the Search Groups feature on the upper left-hand side.
6 Ongoing Actions You Should Take
- Ask Questions. This allows you to have a much bigger footprint within your network and to communicate in different ways with your 1st degree network. For example, at least once per month ask a question about a problem you faced recently or if anybody else has heard of a particular vendor that called you the other day. If you have a big network, you can ask questions more frequently.
- Answer Questions. This is a great way to profile you/your brand and to generate leads and real business. Remember, to be considered an "expert" in any particular area, you only need to know more than the person reading the answer! Get in there, search for questions that you think you can answer and answer them.
- Start Group Discussions. Once you've joined some groups, go in there and participate in discussions that are happening or start group discussions. Remember that these are targeted audiences and people have joined these groups for a specific reason. You can also set up notifications within the group so you get a digest of discussions that are happening within the groups you've joined.
- Do An Advanced People Search. In the upper right hand corner click on Advanced. Search for titles of people or people at companies that you may want to connect with. My sales team is using this feature daily by searching for "marketing" titles at companies they're trying to penetrate.
- Search for Companies. In essence, this is competitive intelligence. What are your competitors doing? Who should you be connecting with? What content are they publishing? There's a great new feature that was launched this year called Follow Company. This feature "allows you to keep up on occurrences within those companies by sending you updates through your LinkedIn account" and gives you something to talk about with the contacts that you find.
- Update Your Network Status. Do this once per week. Remember, this is not Facebook but status updates serve a similar purpose in a business context. Status updates are essentially mini performances. When you post a status update, you're giving your network information about yourself or your brand. Here's a good example from one of my connections that I saw today: "Fantastic article -- The Difference Between B2B and B2C SEO - Proteus SEO." What does this tell me about the person that posted this? He's in the know. He has access to information that might help me. His status update has elevated his profile in my mind as a possible expert in this area.
The author recommends that you actually place the six ongoing actions on your calendar so that you don't waste time on other extraneous things within LinkedIn. It's easy to start browsing and get lost. Stay focused. Your competitors will be taking these actions soon (if they're not already) so if you take these actions, they will help you share your brand and generate business in a different way.